What leads to disorderly conduct charges?

There are times when anyone can lose their cool or get a little out of hand. Maybe you’re yelling at an opposing fan too loudly or arguing with a family member in public. What happens when the police are called to intervene? If you’re disturbing the peace in Nevada, you can be charged with disorderly conduct.

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

Hands handcuffed behind someone's back
Image via Flickr by houstondwi_photo via CC BY-SA 2.0

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor that encompasses a lot of criminal activity that disturbs the public’s peace at large. These prohibited activities include:

  • Two or more persons agreeing to fight in public to the public’s terror.
  • Disturbing a meeting.
  • Traducing.
  • Quarreling.
  • Making loud or unusual noises.
  • Two or more persons getting together to commit an illegal act.
  • Advocating that the government be overthrown by force.
  • Advocating to accomplish political or industrial reform by force.
  • Using force to enter and hold possessions or land owned by someone else.
  • Assembling to disturb the peace or commit an illegal act.
  • Threatening.
  • Offensive and tumultuous conduct.
  • Willfully and maliciously disturbing the quiet or peace of a person, family, or neighborhood.
  • Challenging to fight.
  • Fighting.
  • Failing to disperse at the request of a police officer, sheriff, coroner, constable, justice of the peace, or judge.
  • Attempting to provoke or provoking someone else to breach the peace.
  • Assembling people as a military company without the governor’s consent.
  • Using profanity or indecent/offensive language in public.

This catch-all offense covers anything loud or disruptive in Nevada and is considered a misdemeanor. Public intoxication by itself isn’t a crime in Nevada. Still, if the level of intoxication causes you to act inappropriately under one of these activities, you can be charged with disorderly conduct.

What Are the Charges for Disorderly Conduct?

In Nevada, local municipalities can pass their own ordinances regarding disorderly conduct. Regardless of the definition used for disorderly conduct, you can either be arrested or fined by a police officer for this criminal act. Either way, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor and will appear on your record for background checks.

Can You Go to Jail or Be Fined for Disorderly Conduct?

The penalties for disorderly conduct include a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  A judge may choose to apply both the fine and the jail sentence, or one or the other, depending on the severity of your charges. Typically, the court won’t impose any jail time unless the defendant misses court appearances or is a repeat offender. Courts often agree to dismiss the charges entirely if the defendant agrees to perform community service or pay a fine.

What Should You Do if You’re Charged With Disorderly Conduct?

If you’ve been charged with disorderly conduct, you should consult with a skilled criminal attorney to discuss your case. A charge of disorderly conduct will show up on your background check, which may affect your future employment, credit, or professional licenses, making it essential that someone with experience handles your case to fight the charges. Common defenses to disorderly conduct include:

  • The First Amendment protects the actions of the defendant.
  • Someone else falsely accused the defendant.
  • The defendant didn’t do anything that breached the peace.
  • Police misidentified the defendant as the culprit.

Evidence for a disorderly conduct case may include eyewitness testimony or surveillance video.

Can You Be Deported for Disorderly Conduct?

No. While many charges can result in the deportation of a non-citizen, those charged or convicted with a charge of disorderly conduct cannot be deported back to their home country. Disorderly conduct is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude. This means that the crime level doesn’t warrant deportation, and the non-citizen will pay the fine or serve the jail sentence much as a U.S. citizen would.

It’s important to note that an illegal alien can be deported at any time, whether they’ve been accused of disorderly conduct or not.

How Long Will a Disorderly Conduct Conviction Remain on Your Record?

One year after the case closes, you can petition the courts to seal your record. If the disorderly conduct charges are dismissed, you can ask for your record to be sealed immediately. Because a disorderly conduct conviction will show up on your background check, it’s important to remember to petition the courts to seal your record. If you don’t petition the court to have your record sealed, the disorderly conduct conviction will remain on your record. It isn’t the responsibility of the courts to seal records without a request from the defendant.

Can Assault or Battery Charges Be Reduced to Disorderly Conduct?

If you’ve been charged with the misdemeanor of assault or battery, you will want to see if you can get the prosecutor to reduce those charges to the lesser disorderly conduct charge. It’s to your advantage to get the charges reduced for two reasons:

  • A disorderly conduct conviction only has to wait one year after the case ends to petition to seal the record, whereas assault and battery convictions have to wait two years.
  • Disorderly conduct convictions tend to be viewed as less serious than an assault or battery charge, and potential landlords or employers may be more likely to look past it.

To reduce your assault or battery charge to disorderly conduct, reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. They will review your case to determine whether it’s feasible to make this request as part of a plea bargain and can advise you on the steps to take in your case. The lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group – Criminal & Immigration would be happy to review your assault and battery case to attempt to reduce the charges to disorderly conduct.

If you or someone you love has been charged with disorderly conduct, contact the team at De Castroverde for a free case evaluation. We will review your charges to determine whether you have a case to fight the charges. We are known as the Vegas Dream Team for criminal defense, so let us put that power to work for you. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone at 702-222-9999 or via our secure online messaging system.